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CUSD seeks to boost college attendance
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Ceres Unified School District plans to offer SAT preparation classes free of charge beginning next school year in an effort to boost its four-year college attendance rates.
Approximately 23 percent of Ceres High’s 2012 graduating seniors enrolled in four-year colleges last fall according to the National Student Clearinghouse Student Tracker Report System.
Sixty one of Central Valley’s 327 graduates, or 19 percent, entered college.
“It’s a big concern,” CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel said. “Our students are smart enough to attend four-year colleges. We’ll be working on getting that number up. I’d like to see the number up around 40 percent.  There’s a lot of work to do. We want our kids to go to college and finish college.”
Peter Baum, an SAT-prep tutor for over 24 years, will provide his services at a cost of $306 per student.
Baum started teaching SAT prep classes as a freshman at Princeton and has been tutoring full-time since his graduation in 1988. He’s helped raise the scores of students from Menlo, Sacred Heart, Paly, Gunn, St. Francis, Menlo-Atherton, University, Urban, Crystal Springs, Saint Ignatius, Los Altos, Castilleja, Collegiate and Horace Mann in recent years.
“There will be no charge to the students,” Siegel said. “The district will pay for the guy to come out. I’ve known him for years. He’s one of the premier SAT-prep people in the area. He works exclusively in the Bay Area. We’re lucky to get him out here.”
Baum will offer SAT-prep tutor sessions seven Saturdays, starting on Sept. 14 and ending on Oct. 26, this fall.
“We need to provide the same opportunity to our kids that students of privilege have,” Siegel said. “Each kid is getting over 20 hours of his time. It involves pretests and we’ll track their progress. They’ll be fully prepped and ready to go. Our four-year college attendance rates aren’t where they should be. It’s gone up but it needs to go up faster. I want to see as many kids have the opportunity to go to college.”